Welcome to the Summer of Documentation!

Blender documentation projects, tutorials, translation, learning & teaching Blender

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jwir3
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Joined: Wed May 24, 2006 6:05 pm
Location: Grand Forks, ND, USA
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Post by jwir3 »

In my opinion it would be better to have a completely new manual.
There are so many reworked areas in Blender since 2.32 version that I think it would be hard to explain in a separated document all the changes. This can be frustating, expecially for a newbie that wants to learn the software properly.
I concur, wholeheartedly. I purchased the 2.32 manual when I was learning Blender, because it was the only documentation that I could be sure was complete. I found it frustrating when I was working through the tutorials, only to discover that part of the tutorial was either missing, marked with *TODO*, or piecemeal.

I realize this probably isn't the case anymore, but my suggestion is to create documentation in a tutorial-like format, for beginners. Highlight ALL of the features of Blender (not just the commonly used ones) in a tutorial, then have separate chapters for each specific topic (eg. materials, textures, animation, etc...). From the tutorial, there could be links to the other chapters, if the newer user wanted more information.

Also, I think it's necessary to put some amount of computer graphics theory into the discussion. The paper manual provided this fairly well. I just think that for someone to completely understand how to make animations, for example, they should understand concepts of frame rates and how the computer interpolates between key frames.

So, my suggestion is to build the following sections of documentation:

1. Thorough Tutorial of all Blender features
2. Chapters on all Blender features, going more in-depth
- Each chapter will include some sections on computer graphics theory

Obviously, much of the documentation does not need to be re-written. Since almost all of the 2.32 documentation is present, as well as much of the documentation from 2.41 and beyond, we wouldn't need to re-write all of it. Ideally, I would like to participate in this project and document the thorough tutorial of all of Blender's features. I'd like to create a nice looking scene and/or animation, and then go through how to construct the scene. This would give new users a sense of having accomplished something at the end of the tutorial.

I have done much documentation in the past. (You can check out http://portal.aero.und.edu - I did most of the documentation in the DebianLinux section), and I am very good at writing tutorials. I enjoy writing, and I think that if we have a number of people working as a team, we can get some great documentation going.

~Jwir3
============================
"If I were you, I'd be checking my shorts for
cake."
- Special Agent Fox Mulder

artless
Posts: 0
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 6:38 pm
Location: france

Translations

Post by artless »

Documentation from blender geeks could be fabulous! But be aware that new users wants to learn fast and hassleless. They also want to have an idea of what blender can do. It could be interesstig to have a group of new user to evaluate the documentation.

I see blender a few month ago. As a new user of blender (3 days! ), I began to see the video tutorials. My first idea was to make a french version of the Vidéo tutorials, then I saw this forum..

For online documentation you must have an audio guide. Whatever the quality your textual documentations, it's impossible to read and experiment blender in the same time. The only way of doing that is having an audio guide and in the same time using blender. It's a way of saving time and improving the learning effect!

My proposals deals with means of makings blender exercices:
1-An audio guide wich details you the differents steps to make an exercice.
(This audio guide could be an external file readen independently.)
2-Having (finding?) an audio tool to make versions ( internationalisation) from a new audio-guide. ( with textual translation and time mark'up)
3-If it's possilble to control the behaviour of blender:
the audio guide can be integrated in blender to show step by step ( another pointing arrow, and a mecanism to de-activate the other options) the sequences of actions to fulfill the exercices.

( mother tongue: French)
Sorry for my bad English : (Mother tongue= French ) Twilight Time Zone

Eckie
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 8:49 pm

Post by Eckie »

jwir3 wrote:...

So, my suggestion is to build the following sections of documentation:

1. Thorough Tutorial of all Blender features
2. Chapters on all Blender features, going more in-depth
- Each chapter will include some sections on computer graphics theory

...

~Jwir3
In a previous post I said that I'd only be able to do translations for the BSoD, but there may be some more things I could do.

I'm well known with the basics+ of modelling in blender and I took CAD/CAM in university (major: industrial design) so I've also got some knowledge of CG theory and I'd be happy to share it.

Eckie

Toni Grappa
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Joined: Mon May 15, 2006 8:59 pm
Location: Germany

Post by Toni Grappa »

Some years ago I had the duty to teach the programm „Word“ to old aged people who had never contact with computers. What did I do? I asked if anybody had experience with typing machines and everyone had. We made a collection of all the functions of a typing maschine and we also made a „list of wishes“ what a computer based programm could do better (more colours, differnt font types etc.) After all of that we began to seach the „already known functions“ in Word and after one hour everyone was able to create their own dokuments.
What I want to say with this is, that everybody, even those who never had contact with 3d programms, have 3d experiences in their everyday life. So my suggestion would be not! to start with an introducion of the functions in Blender but to write about the experiences everybody has.

Everbody knows lamps of different kind, lamps, neon lamps, the sun, floodlight etc.
Everybody has taken a photograph and should know what is a camera, how it works
We can create objects using the atom model ( like I used to learn in school), but -shit- the lines with this method never become round – we need curves.
Rain, mist, flames – we can`t do that with „objects“, we need something else more powerfull – particles.
Lets have a look of the different kinds of reflection: metall, water, plants, glas etc. We expect methods in blender to create and influence this different types of reflektion.
What about superfices....

And so on and on...

When I remember my first experience with Blender I allways compared my „every day experiences“ with the effects in blender and this is – on my opinion- a very natural way to give an introducion and basic overlook about the themes in Blender.
By the way: the beginning of new functions in Blender is often based in a more detailed observation or understanding of prozesses in reality. (Reflection – Radiosity-SSS)

Some could say this is childisch, but for a certain group of users it could be a better way to get a quick „overlook“ than to force them to keep busy with tecnical and totaly abstract themes right from the start.

Sorry for my bad englisch, in German I could express myself better.

Toni Grappa

starless
Posts: 0
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 11:45 am

Python?

Post by starless »

Does the Python scripting interface fall within "user-level documentation"?

Anyway, I think option a) is preferable to b); Blender IMHO mostly needs up-to-date beginner documentation, and having an outdated base documentation plus separate docs for new features can be confusing.

teachtech
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2002 12:58 am

Post by teachtech »

It's difficult for someone (at least for most I see) to see a manual listing all the features available to you. It's intimidating. For the few that are serious enough to learn a program and research the vast base of knowledge out there, they are successful. I see too many people give up to quickly. That's why I've always though that simple, short chapters covering the basics were the way to go. After that, experimentation and advanced searches and studies would lead to more success. Not to mention, we can kill a lot of trees :wink:

Eckie
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 8:49 pm

Post by Eckie »

Toni Grappa wrote:Some years ago I had the duty to teach the programm „Word“ to old aged people who had never contact with computers. What did I do? I asked if anybody had experience with typing machines and everyone had. We made a collection of all the functions of a typing maschine and we also made a „list of wishes“ what a computer based programm could do better (more colours, differnt font types etc.) After all of that we began to seach the „already known functions“ in Word and after one hour everyone was able to create their own dokuments.
What I want to say with this is, that everybody, even those who never had contact with 3d programms, have 3d experiences in their everyday life. So my suggestion would be not! to start with an introducion of the functions in Blender but to write about the experiences everybody has.

Everbody knows lamps of different kind, lamps, neon lamps, the sun, floodlight etc.
Everybody has taken a photograph and should know what is a camera, how it works
We can create objects using the atom model ( like I used to learn in school), but -shit- the lines with this method never become round – we need curves.
Rain, mist, flames – we can`t do that with „objects“, we need something else more powerfull – particles.
Lets have a look of the different kinds of reflection: metall, water, plants, glas etc. We expect methods in blender to create and influence this different types of reflektion.
What about superfices....

And so on and on...

When I remember my first experience with Blender I allways compared my „every day experiences“ with the effects in blender and this is – on my opinion- a very natural way to give an introducion and basic overlook about the themes in Blender.
By the way: the beginning of new functions in Blender is often based in a more detailed observation or understanding of prozesses in reality. (Reflection – Radiosity-SSS)

Some could say this is childisch, but for a certain group of users it could be a better way to get a quick „overlook“ than to force them to keep busy with tecnical and totaly abstract themes right from the start.

Sorry for my bad englisch, in German I could express myself better.

Toni Grappa
This idea really speaks to me, it doesn't sound childish at all.

Manuals are often made from the know-it-all's point of view, and started from the functions available. Knowing that blender is developed completely from the user's point of view, it would be great (and kinda logical) to have a manual written from de user's point of view. (Which is, before he reads the manual, mainly based on recreating the "real world".)

Saying that... I realize that actually most users' points of view are based on recreating "real world" objects and effects. (The only exceptions i can think of are very abstract projects and cell shading, which would be based on recreating 2d-art.) Starting a manual from recreating what users allready know sounds like a good idea. It's like raising the tutorial to the next abstraction-level.

Jep, you've got my vote. :wink:

franzrogar
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 11:02 pm

The best manual (in my opinion)

Post by franzrogar »

Thinking in a manual, what I ever think about is this:

At the first page, there're some images of real world / some of Fantasy Worlds (also links to the final files & videos, also games if intended)

In the manual, we're going to re-create that images from scratch. So, we're not going to find a chapter entitled "Objects" or "NURBS", we're gonna find a chapter entitled "Frigde" or "Trees" or whatever, so the end-user thinks: "I'm going to do that wonderful landscape" meanwhile he understands the interface.

That's my idea for a manual. The one that is in mediawiki is more like a reference guide (It supposes that you know what you want! and it's not for the newbee: huge, The Manual) and a quick-reference (For the ones that want to refresh his own memory: short, The Reference Manual).

I think I've explain myself ...like a wall, sorry :?

alabandit
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:11 am
Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Post by alabandit »

although i agree that the blender manual exceeds its all rigenal vission, with the shear amount of new features that have add. At the end of the day we need an indepth manual that covers everything indetail. So that anyone writing a guide can have something to refrence to make sure what they claiming a tool does is accurate, or we end up witha lot of people who don't really understand blender 'cus they've been miss informed.

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